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Phair and Balanced

Elvis Costello

Spin 100 Greatest Albums: 1985-2005

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On her fifth album, Liz Phair embraces her new and old selves

By Caryn Ganz
Spin, July 2005

Liz Phair remembers very well the outrage caused by her desicion to embrace Matrix-produced pop on her self-titled 2003 album. “I would put on the record and just be like, ‘It’s perfectly pleasant. It ain’t gonna hurt you!'” she says. “I think everybody’s a little too tight-assed in the music world about staying in their camp.”

For the tenatively titled Somebody’s Miracle, which she recorded in February with producer John Alagia, Phair says she’s scuffed up the shiny finish — a bit. “I wouldn’t say it sounds like old Liz Phair but it’s definately more band-driven than pop. The last record had a lot more shebang in the production; this has a lot more emphasis on the songs.”

These songs are heavy with relationship themes. On the title track, Phair watches a couple on the street in “their own little universe”. “Stop By” is about a middle-aged woman in love with a man who’s holding back. “Table for One” was written from the perspective of Phair’s brother, when he was a teenage alcoholic.

The new album picks up where Liz Phair left off — with Phair, 38, infatuated with youthful men. “Lazy Dreamer” is about my boyfriend, who’s younger than I am”, she says. “Sometimes he reminds me of a teenager. Some men have that boyishness; they’re like puppies.”

Featured Image: Liz Phair (Photo by Phil Pointer)

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